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15 years to get here

How a chain of events including murders and drug trafficking led to a conviction, a teaching job and now new charges against a LR woman. (Photo courtesy: PCSD)

LITTLE ROCK (KATV) -

The school teacher who police say had four pounds of cocaine in her home is not licensed to teach in Arkansas.

She did not need to be licensed to teach at Little Rock Preparatory Academy, and the school says it was unaware of her criminal past.

The chain of drug dealing and murders that eventually ensnared Shernetta Bogard started 15 years ago - in 2003.

That's when 38-year-old Darryl Johnson was tortured and murdered in his Pine Bluff home.

Four years later, three men were convicted of killing Johnson, including Vertis Clay.

Clay and Calvin Stovall were each sentenced to life in prison. Darryl Walker got 24 years in prison for his involvement.

David Tidwell testified against all three men, and in 2011, Tidwell was gunned down inside this home just south of Sweet Home in Pulaski County.

His murder remains unsolved.

Living with Tidwell at the time was his girlfriend, Shernetta Robinson.

After Tidwell's murder, Robinson faced a federal drug charge of her own. In 2013, she pleaded guilty and got three years probation and a felony criminal record.

At some point, Shernetta Robinson went back to her maiden name of Bogard and did some substitute teaching in the Little Rock School District before being hired by the Exalt Education Network.

Bogard was hired to teach third-graders at Little Rock Preparatory Academy charter school.

The school says an extensive background check was performed prior to hiring Bogard, and that background check came back clean.

Federal authorities say that unless Bogard received a Presidential pardon, her previous federal drug-related conviction should have shown up on such a background check.

Little Rock Preparatory Academy has a waiver from the Department of Education and can hire teachers who are not certified.

Shernetta Bogard has been jailed since February 22nd. She has pleaded not guilty to the charges filed against her.

Air date: March 6th, 2018

We submitted several questions in writing to school superintendent Tina Long.

Here are those questions along with Ms. Long’s responses:

1. Ms. Bogard has never been licensed by the ADE to teach in the state of Arkansas.

Was LR Prep aware of this fact?

2. If so, what factored into the decision to hire her as an instructor?

3. If you were not aware that she was a licensed teacher, please explain how that was possible.

4. How many other unlicensed instructors are employed by LR Prep/Exalt Academy?

Ms. Long’s response to questions 1-4: “Little Rock Preparatory Academy, like all charter schools, have the flexibility to hire teachers who are not certified yet are highly qualified. LRPA has a waiver from the Arkansas Department of Education to do just that, hire highly qualified teachers that are not certified. This teacher holds a bachelor’s degree and two master’s degrees from accredited institutions and has several years of previous teaching experience, including with the Little Rock School District. Along with her approved background check she was considered highly qualified to educate students.”

5. Was LR Prep/Exalt Academy aware of Ms. Bogard’s federal felony conviction? If so, when did the school become aware of her criminal past?

Ms. Long: “Little Rock Preparatory Academy has yet to see anything pertaining to a federal conviction for the teacher in question. We have reviewed the documents Jason Pederson sent regarding a federal indictment in 2013 but know that she was fully checked by the Arkansas State Police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation after that time period and was fully approved.”

6. If the school was not aware, what did her background check reveal about her past?

Ms. Long: “The teacher in question received a clean background check and nothing further was furnished to the Superintendent.”

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